Monday, February 28, 2011

Q. I fancy my friend's dad. He's single and a good laugh, and I swear he flirts with me. I'm tempted to make a move, but would it ruin the relationship with my friend?

A. While inter-generational relationships do work, when it involves your mates' parents it comes with baggage. Acting impulsively could have serious consequences for your friendship. Would you want your friend as a step-daughter? Don't rush into anything, just focus on having fun with your friend. This might be an occasion where you ought to wait for him to make the first move, then decide, but discuss the possibility with your friend, and make sure she's OK with it, before you rush in.
Q. My man's suddenly gone off sex and it's very out of character. I try to please him any way I can, but he's just not interested. Do you think it could be another woman or his hormones?

A. Sex drives fluctuate all the time, but changes are often temporary. As it's sudden, it could indicate a shift in life circumstances or an increase in stress levels, which is a top cause of reduced sex drive. Changes in eating patterns and drinking more alcohol are also indicators that something may be stressing him out. Fluctuations in hormones are rarely the problem. Talk to him to see if he's bottling anything up. Focus on supporting him and being affectionate to get to the cause of the issue, rather than focusing on the symptoms.

Q. My boyfriend kissed a colleague at the work party. He was drunk and it didn't mean anything, but now I hate the thought of them working together. It was a few months ago, but when we argue I always bring it up, as I'm worried it will happen again. Help!

A. Work parties are fraught with these kinds of dangers. However, the real issue here seems to be trust and your confidence. If you keep bringing it up, it will drive a wedge between you. It won't be his drunken mistake that splits you up - it will be your inability to get over it and move on. He knows he was an idiot, but he did the decent thing and told you. So put this into perspective. Is he going to pay for this until you split up, or are you going to work on your issues and continue to build a stronger relationship? It's your call.

Q. One of my friends cheated on her boyfriend and I don't know whether to tell him. I wouldn't be so tempted if she didn't act innocent all the time and look down her nose on others who cheat - it's so hypocritical.

A. What outcome do you want from this situation? Are you taking the moral high ground, or do you just want to take her down a peg or two? It's said we're judged by the company we keep. If you don't like what you see, change it. Either tell her how you feel or rethink your friends. What would telling her man do for you? Focus on your own life by surrounding yourself with people you value and respect.

Q. I don't have the confidence to ask for what I want in bed. I hate upsetting my man, so I just go with the flow. I enjoy sex but I can't help thinking it could be better. How can I take control of the situation without hurting his feelings?

A. He'll want to know you're happy, so, in fact, not speaking up could upset him even more if he were to find out you're unhappy. To help him reassure you, tell him you want to open up, but feel shy talking about sex. It may help to get him to say what he's thinking and feeling first, then you can reply. You don't have to be explicit, just say what feels nice or what you'd like him to do. 'That feels good' or 'I love it when you do that' is often enough to show him what you're enjoying. Thinking through what you like can also help, and you may find buying a sex guide you can both read will help you express your desires. Try Tracy Cox Supersex for Life from or many of the other 'better sex' books on offer on the site.
Q. When my ex told me he still had feelings for me, I didn't believe him, because he had a girlfriend. They've now split up. Should I try to get back together with him or wait for him to make the first move?

A. Going back to an old relationship can only work if you've both addressed the issues that caused you to split in the first place. You know if you have, but what about him? More importantly, is this what you really want or are you just flattered? He needs time to get over his last relationship and you need to focus on what you want out of life. Enjoy your life and let him make the move if, and when, he's ready. And don't be afraid to say no if you decide you don't want him back. It's better to be on your own living your life than being in the wrong relationship.

Q. I met a bloke on a night out and both times I've seen him we've had sex. I like him but I don't want to date him. He asked me round to his and I want to hang out as friends but I don't want to sleep with him again. Is it too late now?

A. People do become friends with people they've slept with so there's no reason why you can't too. It's not as if you've told him you love him, you just got together a couple of times. If you've decided it's not what you want any more, be kind but clear. Don't start saying 'Maybe' or 'We'll see'. Don't give out mixed signals. Have a chat, tell him how you feel and what you want from the friendship. If he wanted things to go further then it will be awkward for a while so give him space. But as you've only slept with him a couple of times, chances are he'll be fine. Finally, if you've decided you just want to be friends, don't get into a situation where you're drunk and have sex for 'old time's sake'. Things will only get complicated.

Q. Five months ago I met a bloke I really liked and we met up a few times. I thought we were developing a relationship but now the phone calls and dates have stopped. He's told mutual friends that he likes me, does this mean there's still something there?

A. I'd take control here and see if it can help you find out where you stand and make you feel more confident. Phone or email him and ask if he'd like to meet up for a coffee, meal, film or drink, or do this next time you see him in person. If he's shy, this gives him the chance to take things up a level. If he's not that interested it gives him the chance to say so. You can say to him what you've said to me - that things were going well but have cooled off and you'd like to know where you stand. If he can't be clear, continues to give mixed messages or just isn't acting particularly keen, then I'd definitely move on.

Q. I've started seeing a new man and we've slept together twice but he's too rough and I have to stop myself from crying out in pain. How do I tell him without hurting his feelings?

A. I'm sure he'd be devastated if he knew and it's important to tell him how to make things feel good so it doesn't hurt. When you're not having sex tell him he's a great kisser and what feels good. Try positions where you're in control, like you on top. Tell him that when it's rough it hurts. He might be upset but he shouldn't be offended. Take it in turns to do things to each other that feel good - and give each other feedback about what feels nice. However, if sex continues to be painful go and see your GP just to check there's no other cause for this.

Q. I've just met an amazing man, but he's got quite a small penis. I don't mind at all but how do I make the most of what he has got?

A. First of all, remember he has fingers and a tongue too - he can please you with other parts of his body. Talking about fantasies and what makes you feel good can also equal more fun than if you focus just on penis/vagina. And remember to look at his other qualities - is he funny, caring, respectful and loving? Does he do things outside the bedroom you like? If so, tell him how much those things mean to you, as they'll keep you feeling connected.